Tag: jeff zenick
Those of us who draw comics think a lot about the fight on our page between words and pictures. Are the words doing too much? Do the images borrow too much from another medium? And sometimes we feel a guilt concerning the possibility of our medium’s reliance on other forms.
In search of a critical binary to discuss this struggle between word and picture, form and reference, Jason Overby has come up with the descriptions “world-building” and “systems-building” to describe the poles of comic-creation. I think this spectrum is useful. Useful as a creative tool (more than a critical one). It offers an artist an ability to understand his choices, when and why his comic is dictated by the marks on the page (screen, etc.), or when it is dictated by a desire to create (or simplify) an exterior environment.
Overby offers up his own work as essential form/word-driven comics.
Where the application of the world/system-building binary gets interesting is looking a work like that presented in Andrei Molotiu‘s Abstract Comics anthology (a selection of which we featured recently at Action,Yes). My instinct is that this would be a book of formalist, system-driven comics. But, my instinct is wrong. The abstract-nature of these works (and how Molotiu defines ‘abstract’ is another discussion) often comes from extreme feats of simplification, essentialism, or cartooning, rather than an emphasis on marks or the nature of the panel, or the page itself.
Makes me want to pop the hood on my own comics and smack the engine around with a monkey wrench for a good long time.